Sleep problems and anxiety are two of the biggest problems in today’s stress filled world.
Learn about Ashwagandha and Habits that Contribute to Your Sleep Problems.
More and more people complain about not being able to sleep and feeling depressed and anxious about their lives now and the future. I think all of us have been through it, either in the past and now. I have always had the problem since a child of having an overactive mind. When I was a child, my mom would make me go to bed early. I would wait until I heard her snoring, then get up and write stories. As an adult, my mind is most active and clear late at night. That does not help you when you need to get up early the next morning. We have ducks and chickens to let out at 7 am who need to be fed. Many of my chores need to be done in the morning, so I need to sleep earlier. Through the years, I tried Valerian, passion flower, and other herbs which seemed to work opposite on me. They did not help me turn off my brain. This past year, I began studying Ayurvedic medicine and discovered Ashwagandha along with the healing system that uses it. It has been amazing along with the other steps listed below that I now go to sleep within about a half hour. It used to be 3 hours before I finally would fall asleep. I began taking the Ashwagandha first before doing the steps outlined below. That improved my ability to go to sleep within the first week, but it still wasn’t enough so I started looking at the other elements of our bedroom. After doing some research on the subject, I then rearranged certain items in our room. Those simple things I outline solved the problem within a week. I hope this article helps your quality of sleep as it did mine.
Why take Ashwagandha and not western herbs such as Valerian, Passion Flower or Skullcap? Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, a tonic that helps the whole body to work more effectively. It does so much more than just help you sleep or help with nerves. Western herbs such as Valerian work for some people but for others, and I am one of them, they seem to work the opposite. It is very individual. For myself and others who have tried Western herbs for insomnia without success, Ashwagandha is amazing.
Some background facts and information on Ashwagandha. It is an Ayurvedic herb that grows in India and North Africa with 6000 years of history behind its use. It is used by Ayurvedic doctors today in India and the world. It is now being utilized by some Western medicine doctors instead of addicting prescription drugs which have horrible side effects and are addictive. It is an ancient remedy. Its botanical name is withania somnifera. It is also known as Indian ginseng, winter cherry and in Sanskrit means, “smell of the horse”. This refers to his unique smell and its reputation for giving one strength, relieving stress and anxiety, and increasing energy and overall mental concentration.
How do you use Ashwagandha? What health conditions do Ayurvedic doctors suggest it for? Learn about Ashwagandha for Insomnia and Anxiety
Ashwagandha is used with many health issues in Ayurvedic medicine by Ayurvedic physicians including depression, stress, anxiety, inflammation, tumor growth, cancer, high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol and triglycerides, high cortisol levels, and overall weakness. Taking this herb can increase thyroid hormone levels if you are mildly hypothyroid.
Anxiety: Anxiety takes a whole article or two to discuss but I found Ashwagandha worked very effectively for me when I suffered severe anxiety during my father-in-laws last few weeks and after his death to help me deal with the grief, bills, and uncertainty of all of it. It is not addictive nor do you feel hung over or tired the next day. It just helps you to cope with whatever stress and anxiety you are going through. I take it every day now because I tend to be high strung and way too serious for my own good. I am one is worries more than I should as well. I have always been that way from a child. This has helped me more than any other herb I have tried. So this is my personal view on this which is supported by 6000 years of use both in the past and present day.
I do want to state here, I don’t take any drugs nor have I ever for Anxiety so there was never any problem with drug-herb interactions. I do not have debilitating anxiety either as some do.
Ashwagandha can be taken in capsules, tablets, or in bulk powder form mixed in a drink called golden milk. Golden milk is milk that usually contains turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and honey. This is the way I use most of the Ayurvedic herbs I take. My husband takes them in capsules instead.
Ashwagandha does not have to be taken everyday, though it is more effective if you do. If you have anxiety, you will notice a calmer feeling which is nice. Things that are getting you overly upset, may not brother you as much. Your disposition may get less cranky and irritable. It evens you out gently. I have an overactive mind at night and it turns that off so I can rest my brain. As an herbalist, I have tried a lot of formulations that did not work so finding Ashwagandha was wonderful to me. Herbs and how they work on you is individual. You are unique and your needs are unique. Your needed dose is individual and may depend on how you feel on a particular week. The degree of your insomnia or anxiety is also individual. You must pay attention to your body and how it reacts to things. Keep a diary on your reactions when starting a new herb or regimen. Make it detailed on your reactions and the results.
Watch a * video on ashwagandha here given by a doctor which you will find quite interesting.
What’s in Ashwagandha that works on so many health issues? Its a tonic herb which contains these health enhancing properties, “Withaferin A and withanolide D are the two main withanolides that contribute to most of the biological actions of Withania (Matsuda et al. 2001; Sharma et al. 2011). The active ingredients of WS are alkaloids (isopelletierine, anaferine, cuscohygrine, anahygrine, etc.), steroidal lactones (withanolides and withaferins), and saponins (Mishra et al., 2000). Sitoindosides and acylsterylglucosides in Ashwagandha are antistress agents. Active principles of Ashwagandha, for instance, sitoindosides VII–X and Withaferin A, have been shown to have significant anti-stress activity against acute models of experimental stress (Bhattacharya et al., 1987). The arial parts of WS yield 5-dehydroxy withanolide-R and withasomniferin-A (Rahman et al., 1991).” https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/withanolide.
Precautions and Warnings: Important Note: Do not use this herb during pregnancy or breastfeeding. If you are on thyroid medication it could decrease the amount of medication you need.
If you are on anxiety medication, cholesterol medication, depression medicine or diabetes medicine, it could reduce your need for these medications. You really have to be careful when taking herbs and medications together can cause real problems. Get your doctors approval first .
Always take herbs at least 4 hours apart from medications after getting your doctors approval and supervision while doing this. If you are on chemo or radiation, I would get their permission to take any herbs, since many herbs and vitamins get in the way of the chemo treatment. Herbs can seriously impact the way your depression or anxiety medications affect you. Herbs do work and are potent! They need to be used with proper knowledge and research. Start with one capsule or the lowest dosage for a few days, then increase if needed. Herbs take time to work so give it a few days to see the results.
More links to investigate Ashwagandha and its benefits. Educational links only below.
A caution about Web M.D. ! They will state on any herb that there is not enough double blind research for them to support how it has been used for 6000 years. Frankly, I feel 6000 years of use treating real people for real illnesses is enough substantiation. There are many research qualified published studies to support its use and effectiveness out there. Our medical system for which WebMD is a part of, does not accept the research studies that are published by nations such as India, Russia, China, and other countries. That is a real travesty and is tainting your mind against natural medicine.
How to get a better nights rest with 6 more steps!
#1. Take 1-2 Ashwagandha two to three hours before you want to turn in for the night. Take calcium-magnesium along with the Ashwagandha. I have done just the ashwaganda and that works but the calcium-magnesium supplement is good for your bones and joints. The magnesium helps to relax the muscles and tissues.
#2. Drink a hot cup of Golden Milk before bed. Simmer a large mug full of goats milk or organic milk mixed with 1/2 to 1-tsp cinnamon, 1/2 to 1- tsp ginger, 1-2 tsp of turmeric, a pinch of black pepper ( to help the herbs to work better) and honey. You can add the contents of the Ashwagandha capsule to it as well. It depends on your taste buds. It doesn’t take long for it to be hot enough to drink. You can add a tsp of cacao to it as well. Add the honey after taking it off the stove. Mix well and remix while drinking it for the herbs tend to settle to the bottom. Add or decrease the amount of the herbs above to taste.
#3. Turn off your computer an hour or two before you go to bed. The blue light and what you are reading is not going to help you sleep. Read something offline that is easy reading or positive. Take that time and write in a gratitude journal or journal on what you accomplished today, even the small stuff. If you are religious, pray for others before you go to bed and release them to God. Listen to soft, relaxing music. Staying awake is not going to help those you love or yourself.
#4. Take your alarm clock and put it at least 6 feet away where you can’t see it easily. You would be surprised how much you tend to look at your alarm clock which stimulates your brain and thinking. I moved mine and it immediately helped me to sleep more quickly. Take your computer or IPad, turn it off, turn the WiFi off, turn the mobile data off, and place those away from your bed a few feet away. If you tend to be a light sleeper, this can really be a problem. When your sleep problems occur in the beginning when you first lay down, this is where these steps really do make a difference.
#6. Also your electronic instruments give off radiation which is not good for you or sleeping. Don’t use your phone as an alarm for that reason. If possible do not keep your phone or electronics in your bedroom when you are ready to go to sleep.
#7. Make your room dark without any lights of any kind.
Disclosure: While reading any of my articles, you may find affiliate links in blue, meaning if you click through the link at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you purchase a product. This helps me pay for the web costs and helps me afford to keep this site going for your education. I only promote products I use for our family, products that I have faith in, and have researched. Affiliate links will be identified with an *. Each article also contains educational links and reference links to investigate the topic on your own. Thank you for your support.
Buying Ayurvedic herbs safely is important! Interested in buying the herbs in my articles?
I buy my families products including * Aswashgandha, Turmeric, from this company, *VPK by Maharishi Ayurvedic Herbs, because they are a quality company who effectively test their products for lead, e-coli, bacteria, and other heavy metals. Visit *their website to review their products and testing protocol .
By for now, Herbally Yours…Kate Freer
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE, It is for your education only! The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The views expressed on this website have not been approved by the AMA or FDA. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics including Ayurveda medicine, Ayurvedic herbs, adaptogen herbs, and herbal therapies.
It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
The material has not been reviewed or approved of by the AMA or FDA. Do not begin an herbal program without consulting your doctor. Do not take herbs and medications together unless approved by your doctor. Herbs and medications can and do conflict. Some herbs can potentiate or nullify the effectiveness of the drugs you are taking. Do not go off your medications without supervision from your doctor. Herbs are one tool along with a nutritious diet that can benefit your path to wellness.